Click here to see of photo gallery of the mountain lion’s capture.
A mountain lion that wandered into a Santa Barbara neighborhood was tranquilized at midday Monday, several hours after it was spotted, and will be released into Los Padres National Forest.
The big cat was subdued at about 12:10 p.m. by a game warden, who used a city Fire Department ladder truck to gain better access to the animal, which had taken refuge in a backyard in the 200 block of Apple Grove Lane, near the Municipal Golf Course.
The mountain lion ran a short distance after being hit with the tranquilizer dart, but was knocked out by the drugs fairly quickly.
Wildlife officers and a veterinarian then entered the backyard to assess the animal.
Santa Barbara police, animal control and state wildlife officers had been keeping a watchful eye on the estimated 130-pound cat, which was spotted shortly after 7 a.m. by a resident, said police Sgt. Riley Harwood.
The lion was brought out of the backyard in a blue tarp, and placed in a city Animal Control truck.
Veterinarian Karen Blumenshine, who examined the animal, said it was a male, in good health, and probably not very old “because its teeth are nice and white.”
The lion was being taken up to the forest area along Paradise Road in the upper Santa Ynez Valley, according to Animal Control.
Wildlife officers were assisted on the incident by a Sheriff’s Department helicopter, which had been called in to help track the lion afterwards.
Officials sent out reverse notification calls through the 9-1-1 system to alert neighbors to mountain lion’s presence.
Authorities had been concerned that the big cat might be old or sick, and therefore a threat to humans and pets in the area, said Lt. Paul McCaffrey.
One indication of that, McCaffrey said, was the fact that the animal has not tried to jump the 5-foot chain-link fence between the home and the golf course, something a healthy mountain lion could easily do.
Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli reported from the scene.